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THE GENTLEMen's DEPARTMENT

THE GENTLEMen's DEPARTMENT

September 17, 2018

How to Prevent Toenail Fungus on Men

Have you ever come across a toenail infection? If not, you might want to take a minute to Google it, but before you do, be warned. The pictures can get gross. It’s not recommended as lunchtime research. Ok. With that out of the way, you’re hopefully motivated to protect your own feet from these horrors. If not, at least consider how having yellow, rotting toenails will affect your love life. Here’s a hint: it’s not good. Now are you on board? In that case, we should have a friendly little chat about how you can prevent toenail fungus. It’s a lot easier than you might think. The bulk of it boils down to “stop living like a filthy human being.” A few other smart tips are all it takes to keep your feet healthy and fungus free. Here's how to prevent toenail fungus on men.

Actually Wash Your Feet

You’re in the shower. You wash your hair. When you do, you notice the soapy runoff swirls around your feet. Still not done, you get a little soap on most of your upper body. You’re not a complete failure; you get your pits and your crotch. As you rinse, you notice more soapy runoff. You figure your feet have been in a small river of soap for the entirety of the shower. That’s probably good enough.

The jig is up. You already know this isn’t good enough, but let’s just hammer this point home. Letting your feet stew in the waste of the rest of your shower for a few minutes hardly counts as washing them. In case you’re still six, now’s a good time to learn about how cleaning works. The act of scrubbing is often more important than exposure to soap (not that this is an excuse to skip the soap ya nasty). One of the things that happens when you scrub is that you remove dead skin cells. Your feet are prone to harboring more of these than any other part of your body. More to the point, the buildup of dead skin is a virtual haven for microbes and fungi that want to infect your feet. If you actually wash your feet -- instead of just hoping they magically self-clean -- you’ll prevent the vast majority of infections that could otherwise plague your life.

how to prevent toenail fungus on men

Shower Shoes

You should already know this. Any time you have to use a public or communal shower space, you should have some dedicated flip flops or shower shoes for the process. The concept is pretty simple: most infections are contracted from other people. If your feet are exposed to the activity of a large number of strangers, risk goes up.

What you might not have considered is that this principle applies to so much more than just locker rooms. Public pools are a haven for fungi. The foot traffic combined with ready moisture is a veritable breeding ground for toenail fungus. There are plenty of other sports-related areas that also fall in this category. Climbing gyms are a great example. There is a ton of foot traffic, and you’re likely to change shoes while you’re there. Avoid the temptation and limit any barefoot activity to an absolute minimum. Additionally, consider hitting your shoes with an antifungal after any of these activities.

Wear Better Shoes

Let’s oversimplify all of mankind for a minute. You can roughly place guys into three categories. The first is the “free the foot” kind. You’ve met him. He thinks that socks are some sort of demonic concoction. He literally wears sandals everywhere -- even when it rains or snows. He’s also impervious to the eye rolling and condescension that is constantly thrown his way. If you might be tempted to be that guy, remember that he is at the highest risk for toe fungus. If you actually looked at some of those photos, it should server as a powerful deterrent. Also, if you find socks that miserable, consider manscaping below the ankles a bit. Most of the discomfort stems from hair growth. A trim of the area will take about 30 seconds of your life.

The second type of guy at least wears shoes. But, he takes it as a form of pride that he isn’t “feminine” in this aspect. He disdains people who have more than two pairs of shoes, and you won’t catch him in a shoe store until his current pair is falling apart on his feet. While this guy might receive less exposure to new fungi and microbes, he’s not living a life of good foot health. At least some exposure is inevitable, and living this way is basically inviting them to an all-you-can-eat buffet. You need shoes that maintain a good fit and breath. When shoes get overly worn, they tend to be great at trapping moisture. Moisture, in case you haven’t guessed, is the enemy. Wear good shoes.

how to prevent toenail fungus on men

The third guy is the complete opposite of number two. His closet is 90-percent shoes. He collects them. He has a prize pair of Air Jordans somewhere in the stash, and he’s the guy you often have to wait for before doing something active because picking the right pair of shoes is a chore. You might think that this guy is immune to the problems of wearing bad shoes, but you’d be wrong. He’s so obsessed with aesthetics that he’ll wear a bad fit to try and look good. You don’t need a repeat of the rules. This guy is also shooting himself in the foot.

Get Some Air

Despite how much you just read about protecting your feet from exposure to things that can infect them, bubble wrapping your feet in a permanent enclosure is not a good solution to the problem. You want good shoes to protect them while you’re out and about, but they do need a chance to breath every now and then. Theoretically, it should be fine to let them free while you’re at home. Granted, that might require you to clean your floors on occasion.

Sarcasm aside, letting your feet breath can be a challenge for those of you who live in colder climates. In a harsh winter, nobody wants to be barefoot. That’s reasonable. In this case, you need to take a few precautions. First, rotate whatever you wear. Be it wooly socks, bunny slippers or anything else, your feet will still dump moisture even in the coldest conditions. Switching into something dry on a regular basis will help stop infections. Even in the cold, excessive moisture can cause huge problems. By that same token, you should never wear wet shoes. That’s why it’s important to score guy number two and actually have some alternative kicks in your life.

Trim Those Nasty Toenails

What is it with guys and having no understanding of nail trimming? Ladyfolk can be pretty judgmental of nasty nails (toes or hands), and yet a lot of guys remain clueless. This is only hurting your love life. More to today’s point, it’s also helping fungi do nasty things to your feet. This is one of the top ways in how to prevent toenail fungus on men.

In general, there are two risks associated with toenails. This first is leaving them long. Dirt and other things easily get lodged in the overhang where the nail grows past the toe. Since you’re still new to actually washing your feet, trusting you to scrub under these nails seems like a long shot. If you just keep them trimmed, the problem is solved and life is easier. Besides, long toenails are a huge pain anyways.

The other risk comes from bad trimming habits. So many of you guys grab a pair of clippers, make a single clip, and then just tear the nail away. It feels faster and easier, but it’s doing more harm than good. Let’s state the obvious. Toenails exist for a reason. They’re hardened to protect something, and that something is the soft tissue underneath. When you trim like a gorilla displaying dominance, you invariable over-trim the nail, and that exposes the most vulnerable part of your toe to all of the worst things in the world. More than anything else in this list, this is the practice that is most likely to lead to toenail fungus. Take an extra minute out of your day and cut your nails with precision. You just want to eliminate overhang. That’s it. It’s really that easy.

how to prevent toenail fungus on men

Congratulations. You’re now qualified in basic foot care and health. Well done. Just, don’t forget to actually do a few of these things. If nothing else, at least actually scrub your feet and trim your toenails better. It will go a long way.

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